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certainly destroy them. Divine judgments shall secretly eat out their strength, waste their beauty, and render them uncapable of effecting any valua. ble purpose. And as the garment breeds the moth, which effectually destroys it; so those who oppose the glorious Redeemer, foster in their own bofoms the feeds of those corrupt paflions, whịch bring upon them consuming calamities.-By this paffage of scripture, we are instructed from what sources we ought to derive encouragement, when we engage in any arduous service, we qught to look to God to furnish us for the work þe afligns, to strengthen us for the performance of it, and to endow us with courage to execute it with firmness and constancy, amidst the censures and opposition that we may meet with. Let us at all times ftudy to obtain his approbation, with whom none can successfully contend, let us gratefully accept the blessings of his redemption, depend 'on his mediation, submit to his authority, and rejoice in his administration. Then may we hope that when all earthly glory Shall fade away as a flower, he will admit us into his kingdom and presence, where is fulness of joys for evermore,

10 Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his fervant, that walkerh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.

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Isaiah having prophetically represented the treatment which the Meffiah was to receive from the Jews; he directs his discourse to both the classes of which that people were composed; namely, the righteous and the wicked, He begins with addressing good and comfortable words to the upright among them, in order to folace their anxious dejected minds.—Who is among you that feareth the Lord? The fear of the Lord which is here intended, con

fists in facred reverence of his glorious Majesty, in humble veneration of his divine excellencies, accompanied with profound submission to his supreme authority. It is implanted in the human heart by the blessed God himself; it is the beginning of wildom, it disposes to depart from evil, and produces the most important effects both on the temper and conduct. It blends its operations with the exercise of every other grace. It intermixes with faith, and renders it fruitful; it co-operates with love, and prevents it from becoming secure; it unites with hope, and keeps it from swelling into prefumption; it mingles with joy, and so moderates it that we rejoice with trembling. It extends its benign influence through every department of divine worship, and so occupies the mind with awful respect for God, as excites to caution and circumspection in every situation and service; whilst it cherishes amiable humility in the divine presence. It is increa. fed and established by frequently contraiting our impurity with the perfect holiness of Jehovah ; our meanness with his infinite grandeur, our weakness with his omnipotence, our folly with his consummate wisdom, our emptiness with his inexhaustible fulness. From all which it is evident, that the fear of the Lord peculiar to his servants, is very different from that servile dread of God as an offended fovereign and judge, whereby the security of tranfgreffors is disturbed, and a loud alarm of danger reaches their consciences. It is also essentially distinguished from that perplexing timidity which is sometimes felt by the workers of iniquity, who are in great fear because God is in the generation of the righteous; and who are terrified at the thoughts of God whom they have contemned. From this powerful principle, the faithful servants of God are often denominated in scripture. As men frequently bear the name of the particular bufiness wherein they are chiefly employed; 1o thule who live and act under the governing influence of reverence for God, are with great propriety characterised by this gracious disposition. We beseech thee, O Lord God, that according to thy word thou wilt put thy fear into our hearts, that we shall not depart from thee.

racterised man ;

That obeyeth the voice of his servant. The Meffiah frequently mentioned in these prophecies as the servant of Jehovah, is I suppose the person who is here chiefly intended. Though confidered as Mediator and Redeemer, he suftains this character, yet he poflefles absolute right to command, and his peculiar people are bound by the strongest ties to obey his voice. God hath fet him King over his boly hill of Zion. He is the great Prophet that God hath raised up, who hath spoken to us all that he commanded him: He is his beloved Son, to whom Jehovah hath required us to hearken diligently, and to yield obedience. To obey his voice is to listen attentively to his instructions, and so to understand them as to become wise unto salvation. It is to receive the law from his mouth, and to lay up his word in our hearts, that we fin not against him. It is to yield chearful unlimited subjection to whatsoever he hath commanded ; convinced that it is our duty, honour, and interest to do his will. Sensible that all his precepts which relate either to the exercise of the heart, or the fruits of holiness and righteoufness in the life, are proofs of his gracious regard for our happiness; we ought in all things to approve ourselves to our great Lord and Master in heaven. Such is the habitual delightful employment of those who obey the voice of God's servant, who hath explicitly declared, that the observance of his laws is the best evidence of that su. preme affection which he justly demands. • He • that hath my commandments (faith he) and keep. eth them, he it is that loveth me; and again, if ye • love me, keep my commandments. Gratitude to him for his benefits, and a sense of his authority, ditpotes those who are his disciples indeed to keep his word, and to delight in his law after the inward

man.-Perfons of this description may occafionally fall into the state mentioned in the following words.

That walketh in darkness, &c. Every intelligent reader of the Bible must have observed, that dark. ness and light are often spoken of in scripture in a figurative sense, that the former denotes trouble and perplexity, and that the latter fignifies the opposite state of serenity, happiness, and joy. This seems plainly to be the meaning of these terms in the expressions before us. Those who fear the Lord agd obey his voice, are sometimes involved in diftress, destitute of tranquillity and consolation. Afflicted in their persons or families, in their friends or possessions, harassed by manifold temptations and corrupt passions, oppressed with a sense of guilt, afraid of the awful threatenings denounced in the word of God, and disquieted by the accusations of their consciences; they cannot perceive their interest in the divine favour and love, nor see by what way they may emerge from their troubles, and obtain deliverance. In this forlorn situation, though they indulge not in fullen sadness, nor repine at divine dispensations, their satisfaction and joy are impaired by folitude and anxiety, their hope is enfeebled by disappointment, and their confidence weakened by the difficulties with which they are embarrassed. Though the divine procedure in this instance may be the subject of mournful complaint, when the important purposes are rightly confidered, that may thereby be promoted by infinite wisdom and love, the affiliation will be greatly alleviated, and light will spring up out of obscurity. Unto the upright who walk on in their integrity; light ariseth in darknefs, . For the Lord will not cast off for ever. But though he cause grief, yet will

. he have compassion according to the multistude of his mercies *.' By allowing his people to fall into fuch distressing circumstances, the blessed God displays his glorious sovereignty; he subdues VOL. III.

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Lam. iii. 31, 32.

their corrupt passions; he exercises and improves their graces ; and teaches them highly to prize his mercies, and the light of his countenance.--In this state they greatly need support and reliet, for obtaining which to each of them, it is said,

Let bim truf in the Lord, &c. These two expreslions which point out the duty of those who walk in darkness are of similar import, the latter serving to explain and inforce the former. To trust in the Lord, and to stay upon God, is not rashly to presume on the divine goodness, or to entertain delusive hopes of the favour and protection of Jehovah, whilft we provoke his displeasure, by adopting measures to obtain deliverance, that he hath prohibited. It is not like the chief men in Jerusaiem, to judge for reward, to teach for hire, and to divine for money, and yet to lean upon the Lord and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us *. It is not to bless ourselves in our hearts and to say, We shall have peace, though we walk in the imagination of our evil hearts t. This is not to trust upon God, but upon lying vanities. To trust in Jehovah, is in the diligent performance of duty, and the faithful improvement of appointed means, with firm persuasion of the divine goodness and power, to place entire dependance on the Almighty, to prevent the evils we fear, to remove those which we feel, and to bestow every good thing neceflary to deliverance and happiness. It is in the exercise of humble believing expectation, to repose unsuspecting confidence in the attributes, providence and promises, of Jehovah, which frees from perplexing doubts, desponding fears, and disquieting discouragements. It is to look to our Maker, and to have respect to the Holy One of Israel; it is to cast our burden upon the Lord, and to rely on him for the seasonable communication of every promised blessing suited to our circumitances. This trust ought to be fixed,

Micah jj. . + Deut. xxix. 19.

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